You may have heard that a strong core is essential to strong running. If you’re wondering how strong abs help you run, you may be surprised to find that they help stabilize you so you can keep your form. The core is, after all, the group of muscles that connect your torso to your legs. A rock-solid core gives you a rock-solid foundation on which to build your running stride.
The less you overbalance and have to right yourself, the less energy you use, and the faster you’ll be during races. So yes, building stronger core muscles, including abs, can actually improve your performance.
Ab rollers are a good way to strengthen core muscles. We’re reviewing the best ab rollers for runners so you can get an idea of which model to get if you’re serious about developing your core strength.
Our top choice is the Harison HR-415 Ab Roller Wheel. It’s versatile, folds easily and stores in a gym bag for transporting, and comes with knee pads and a resistance band to increase intensity.
But we’ve found many other great options to pick from. Read on to see our top choices…
Top 3 Best and Favorites
HARISON HR-415 AB Roller Wheel
Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro
Sports Research Ab Wheel
1. Harison HR-415 Ab Roller Wheel
This ab wheel looks a bit different than what you might expect. Unlike the traditional wheel and handle design, this is two push-up bar-style rollers that have small wheels on the bottom to allow for rolling.
These are more like an exercise system than just ab rollers. Aside from abs, you can use them in conjunction with the resistance band to do a variety of exercises like bicep curls, rows, and lateral shoulder raises.
If you’re using them specifically for abs, your knees will be protected as you get two knee pads when purchasing. The triangle shape of the roller makes them more stable than traditionally shaped wheels.
You can fold these up into a flat shape so they’re easy to transport. They’re very versatile and can be used for a variety of exercises. You’ll also get a 21-day abs program to get you off to a good start.
- Includes 21-day training program
- Resistance rope and knee pad included
- Multiple slide angles
- Foldable and portable
- Some may find that it moves too easily when using the device for a push-up
Top High Resistance Ab Roller
2. Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro
If you have slippery or smooth floors, using an ab roller can be a challenge. This version is high-resistance, so it will grip solidly onto almost any floor, allowing you to get a safe workout even in slippery conditions.
This roller is extra wide, which helps for grip, as it increases the surface area in contact with the floor. It’s also textured, to enhance traction even more. The handlebars are ergonomic and easy on the hands even when using extensively.
This piece of equipment is also durable, as it has a carbon steel spring inside it to withstand the pressure of being rolled and leaned on. It’s made from heavy-duty plastic to withstand everyday use without breaking.
- Carbon steel spring
- Ergonomic handles
- Wide, rounded wheel
- Made from heavy-duty plastic
- If you weigh more than 300 pounds it’s advisable that you don’t use this ab roller
Best Ab Roller With Wide Wheel
3. Sports Research Ab Wheel
The Sports Research ab wheel features a 3-inch rubber wheel that is non-slip for added safety. The wider wheel is helpful for distributing weight across a wider area, making it more stable, and it is suitable for users up to 485 pounds.
The wheel is very textured to give it a good grip on almost any surface. Ergonomically-designed, well-padded handles are comfortable and reduce pain in the hands, and it comes with a thick foam knee pad to keep your knees safe too.
You can remove the handles of the ab roller to make it easier to transport if you want to take it with you to use at the gym, on vacation, or even at work during your lunch break. It’s very easy to assemble again.
To help you perform the exercises with the correct form, you’ll receive a handy workout guide with your ab roller. You will also get a one-year warranty if you fill out the card.
- Easy assembly
- Ergonomic grips
- Non-slip 3-inch rubber wheel
- Weight capacity of up to 485 pounds
- Some people may find that the handles start to loosen as they use it
4. SKLZ CORE Wheels
These wheels come in a set of 2, so it’s like having a small ab wheel on each hand.
They are very stable, as the wheels on either side of the handle move together and the wheels are solid, non-slip and thick. The foam grips on each handle are high-quality and will protect the palms and fingers.
These wheels are much more versatile than a single ab roller wheel. You can adjust your exercises, using each hand independently, and even use them for static exercises like planking or push-ups.
You can also use these wheels to move your hands out to the side, instead of in front of you like the normal ab wheel, which will target different muscles, like the chest.
- Non-slip wheels
- Foam grips
- Portable and lightweight
- Can be used for a variety of exercises
- The instructions say the weight limit is 225 pounds, which means they may not work for some people
Best Ab/Foot Combo Wheel
5. Lifeline Power Wheel
If you would like the option to do some lower body exercises with your ab roller as well, this one could be the best choice for you.
The Power Wheel has the ability to be used as a regular ab roller, with the hands on the handles, or with it strapped to your feet to provide a good workout for your lower body.
You’ll want to be careful when it’s strapped to your feet, as your feet won’t be able to move independently of each other. Once you get used to it, you’ll be able to do a wide range of exercises that target your core and glutes.
This ab wheel has a thick tread to enhance its grip and make it safer to use. The wheel is 13” in diameter and is made from heavy-duty materials.
Some people may find that the handles are a bit too wide for them, as they have to leave space for the foot pedals.
- Rubber wheel with tread
- Variety of workout possibilities
- Upper core and lower body workout
- Made from durable plastic
- Some people may find using the wheel on their feet to be unstable
Top Ab Roller
6. Ancheer 4 Wheel Ab Exercise Roller
This ab roller is very stable thanks to its excellent design.
Instead of one large wheel, four small wheels form a solid base, with the handles situated on top. This allows pressure to be more evenly distributed and the center of gravity lower, and makes the wheel more stable when rolling.
It’s also durable, with sponge-covered steel handles and rubber tread on the wheels that are wear-resistant. You’ll get a mat and a resistance band when you buy this ab wheel, and the resistance band can make your workout more challenging.
Some people may find that the resistance band is too short to extend as much as they want to.
- Made from ABS non-slip rubber
- Can be used on multiple surfaces
- Comes with a resistance band
- Thicker, foam handles
- Some people may find the resistance band is too short once it’s wrapped around the ab roller
Best Heavy Duty
7. BodyKore’s Xtreme Kore Ab roller
If you’re hard on your gym equipment and want something heavy-duty, then BodyKore’s Xtreme Kore could work for you. It looks smaller than some others, but it’s made from CNC machined parts for precision and strength.
It features dual 6-inch diameter wheels placed close together, to add extra stability. They have brass bushings for smooth movement, which also extends the lifespan of the roller. The handles are made of aluminum and covered in rubber for superior strength and grip.
This ab roller can support over 300 pounds of weight, although some people might find that it feels too small and unstable in their hands.
- Sturdy, dual wheels
- Textured, soft-grip, non-slip handles
- Can support over 300 pounds of weight
- Wheels with brass bushings
- This roller might feel too small for some
Top Ab Roller with Armrests
8. X-Power Ab Roller Wheel
If a regular ab roller feels too unstable for you and you need some extra support, this model with armrests might be the best choice. It’s a good option for beginners who haven’t yet gained the strength to use the small ab wheel effectively.
The slanted handle puts your hands in a more natural position, so even if you aren’t using the armrests you’ll feel comfortable and stable. When you do use the armrests, you’ll find them to be comfortable and non-chafing, as they’re made from thick EPDM foam.
You can also use this as a foot roller, so it’s versatile. Because the four wheels work together, you will need to find a smooth, flat floor for using it. It’s also not very easy to travel with as it doesn’t fold or fit easily into a suitcase.
- Slanted handle
- Multiple exercise methods
- EPDM foam armrests
- Quiet rolling wheels
- Not very easy to travel with
Best With Automatic Rebound
9. Arcwaves Automatic Rebound Ab Roller
If you need a bit of help getting back up off the floor, the Arcwaves Automatic Rebound ab roller features a braking system and an automatic rebound to help push you back up after you’ve gone down.
It has a unique two-wheeled design, where the wheels are not next to each other but one is in front of the other. This adds stability and there’s not much chance of you falling over on this ab wheel.
This is a safe option for those who are new to ab rollers and haven’t yet built up the strength to do it effectively. The brake system will stop you from falling onto your face when you go down, and the rebound system will prevent you from using bad form just to get back up again.
- Weight capacity of 440 pounds
- Brake and rebound system
- Two-wheel design
- Ergonomic grips
- The rebound system may make working out less challenging for intermediate and advanced athletes
What is an ab roller and what is it good for?
An ab roller is one of the most effective pieces of equipment you can own. It typically has a circular wheel with a handle that goes through the center of the wheel. The wheel is either made from rubber or is textured to increase the amount of friction, and prevents the wheel from slipping when you use it.
There are a number of motions that you can do with the wheel which will target muscles in your arms, shoulders, back and abs. Depending on the type of wheel that you get, you can target the muscles in your legs as well.
Having an ab roller in the home makes working out easy and convenient. The tension and resistance of the device increases the intensity of the workout. When you combine your own body weight with the tension and resistance, you’ll be able to tone even the most stubborn areas. Depending on the motion you can target specific muscles like the obliques.
What do you need to consider when buying one?
When you’re looking to buy an ab roller there are a few things to take into consideration, such as:
- Ergonomic handles
Depending on the type of surface you have, be it tiles, laminate flooring or even hardwood flooring, you don’t want the ab wheel to shake or wobble when you roll in any direction with it.
You may want to look at getting an ab roller that has a wide wheel, or even two wheels for better stability. Make sure the wheel is rubber or has a textured surface for better traction and stability.
Most of your body weight will be on your hands when you use the roller, and it would be best to choose a wheel that has padded or cushioned grips. Some grips will also help to absorb sweat so that you don’t have to worry about slipping.
With ergonomic handlebars, the shape will have a comfortable fit without straining your hands. Every ab roller has a different sized handle grip, and you may want to base your choice of roller on which handles are most comfortable.
What muscle groups are working when using an ab roller?
If you start with the standard ab roller exercise or the knee roll-out, you’ll be targeting the following muscles:
- Lower pectoralis major
- Posterior deltoid
- Teres major
- Latissimus dorsi (Lats)
- External obliques
- Rectus abdominis (Abs)
- Tensor fasciae latae
As you become more advanced and start adding variations to your movements, then you’ll target different parts of the following muscle groups: